The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Assam government on its failure to explain to the apex court how the government is planning to identity those who have been declared foreign nationals and have merged with the local population of Assam.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi accused the state government of playing with the court and not coming up with a clear explanation on several questions surrounding the issue of illegal immigrants.
The court demanded answer from the state government on how it will trace the illegal immigrants following the government’s submission that about 70,000 people from Bangladesh have blended with the people of Assam.
The court was further infuriated by the absence of Assam’s chief secretary at the hearing who was asked to appear before the court to answer questions on the issue of illegal immigrants in Assam and how the state government was going to tackle it.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist activist Harsh Mander that focused on the acute difficulties faced by the illegal immigrants who have been kept in the detention centre in poor condition.
The apex court had earlier expressed concern over the issue of thousands of illegal immigrants being kept in detention centres for years and not sent back to their country of origin despite being declared ‘illegal aliens’.
“The chief secretary (of Assam) needs to tell us what the state has done to improve the living conditions of these detention centres, how they would be sent back and how the migrants who have merged with the population will be traced,” said the CJI.
The court rebuked the absence of the chief secretary to answer these queries and asked the solicitor general Tushar Mehta who was present on behalf of the Assam government if a non-bailable arrest warrant were required to ensure the chief secretary’s presence.
However, the Supreme Court refrained from taking any harsh action and directed the chief secretary to appear for the next hearing on April 8.